Glucose concentration in the blood is measured by the blood glucose level. Our bodies produce and store glucose, a sugar that is obtained from the meals we eat.
Our body’s cells use it as their primary source of energy, and the bloodstream carries it to each cell.
To keep their blood sugar levels stable, type 2 diabetic patients sometimes must take medications to maintain their glucose levels at healthy rates.
To rely solely on medication or surgery in the long term is not advantageous, and focus on the diet may be quite effective as well.
Evidence points to some meals’ ability to reduce blood sugar spikes and enhance insulin sensitivity, which may eventually reduce a person’s need for medication.
But these items can contribute to a balanced meal plan if consumed in the proper quantities.
A person’s activity level and any drugs they may be taking, including insulin, can influence the proper amount and kind of carbs to consume.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the following are the keys to a healthy diet for those with diabetes:
- Include fresh produce and fruits.
- Consume lean protein.
- Pick foods with less sugar added.
- Avoid trans fats.
- Reduce your intake of ultra-processed meals, especially.
The management and prevention of diabetes can be significantly influenced by your diet.
Best Foods For Diabetics
Here are the top foods for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Veggies With Green Leaves
Despite being low in calories, green leafy vegetables are packed with nutrients. Additionally, they contain few carbohydrates, which could cause our blood sugar levels to rise.
Phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber are all abundant in them. The risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus is reported to be reduced by their ingestion.
Many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, can be found in leafy greens like spinach, kale, and others.
Together with its anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin C functions as a powerful antioxidant.
People with diabetes can improve their serum vitamin C levels by eating more foods high in vitamin C, which can also reduce inflammation and cellular damage.
Single limited research mentioned that kale juice may aid subclinically hypertensive persons with blood pressure problems and blood sugar control.
For six weeks, participants in the trial drank 300 milliliters of kale juice daily and exhibited better control over their glucose levels after meals.
These vegetables can be either raw or cooked and are great for salads, sides, soups, and meals.
A source of lean protein, like chicken or tofu, should be added to them. Leafy green veggies are incredibly nutritive and low in calories.
Since boiling vegetables might destroy some phytochemicals, diabetics should have raw vegetables, such as salad, at the beginning of meals.
Garlic consumption lowers post-meal and fasting blood sugar levels and improves glycemic status. Vitamin B6 and vitamin C are also found in garlic.
As blood sugar levels are maintained, vitamin C and vitamin B6 both aid in the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Diabetes sufferers have several options for consuming garlic, including eating it raw, cooking with it, or purchasing supplements.
Raw garlic cloves have a calorie count of about 4 per 3 grams. Furthermore, research shows that garlic can control cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
The meta-analysis cited above only covered servings from 0.05–1.5 grams of garlic.
The study concludes that garlic is a proven good alternative or supplement for patients with diabetes.
Plain and apple cider vinegar both have numerous health advantages. Antimicrobial and antioxidant actions are only a couple of the health benefits that apple cider vinegar may possess.
Fermenting apple juice yields apple cider vinegar, which is then manufactured. Vitamin C, B vitamins, and acetic acid are also present.
Following a meal, blood glucose levels can be efficiently reduced with apple cider vinegar, which is also known to enhance insulin activity.
To make the taste less overpowering, you might choose to use 1 teaspoon per glass of water. An increase of up to 4 tablespoons per day is possible.
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that reside in the human stomach and enhance digestion and general health.
The risk of heart disease or heart attack may be reduced as a result of this. Inflammation and oxidative stress may be decreased and insulin sensitivity may be improved by eating probiotic foods.
Depending on your specific goals, it might also assist you in losing weight. Yogurt and other dairy products may help persons with type 2 diabetes lose weight and improve body composition.
Greek yogurt is a healthy addition to meals for diabetics and a satisfying between-meal snack. To make yogurt a healthy breakfast, people might add fruit and nuts.
As opposed to refined white grains, whole grains are far higher in nutrients and fiber.
Because fiber slows down digestion, nutrients are taken by the body more gradually and blood sugar levels aren’t suddenly spiked.
Study shows that whole grains also have a lower glycemic index (GI), making their effects on blood sugar levels less noticeable.
Whole grains that are recommended for diet inclusion include:
- In brown rice
- Full-grain bread
- Wholesome pasta
- Oats and barley contain beta-glucans, which stop the rise in blood sugar levels that occurs after eating.
It is said that a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon added to a starchy meal like overnight oats could help regulate blood sugar, deny insulin surges, and reduce fasting blood sugar.
Cinnamon may help diabetics better control their glucose levels and lower the chance of developing diabetes. Along with this, it may keep you away from the complications of diabetes.
The spice’s potent antioxidants, called polyphenols, are the active substances that may boost insulin sensitivity. As a result, your body’s capacity to store fat and regulate hunger cues.
More than 3,000 people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease participated in a study that found that those who consumed more legumes had a lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
For people who have diabetes, beans are a great choice. They can sate hunger while assisting people in consuming fewer carbohydrates because they are a source of plant-based protein.
Consuming beans might lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and aid in weight loss.
The glycemic index (GI) of beans is low, which helps them to successfully lower blood sugar levels.
Conversely, chickpeas have a GI of 33, and kidney beans have a GI of 28. There are numerous kinds of beans, including:
Iron, potassium, and magnesium are just a few of the essential minerals that beans include. They are very adaptable; one might, for instance, consume them with veggies in a wrap, chili, or stew.
Monounsaturated fats, which are prevalent in extra virgin olive oil and which the study has shown to be effective at lowering levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Due to the increased risk of heart attack and stroke in diabetics, this is particularly crucial. Olive oil is the only one to demonstrate a reduction in the risk of heart disease when compared to other oils.
Antioxidants referred to as polyphenols are also present in olive oil. These polyphenols help in reducing inflammation and safeguarding blood vessel lining cells.
They also help to lower blood pressure, prevent oxidation from harming your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and reduce inflammation.
Due to its unrefined nature, extra-virgin olive oil keeps all of the antioxidants and other beneficial qualities that make it so nutritious.
An individualized nutrition plan can be created by diabetics in collaboration with a healthcare provider.
Having a healthy, balanced diet that includes the aforementioned foods can help persons with diabetes control their illness and avoid complications by:
- regulating the levels of blood sugar
- inflammation reduction
- heart disease risk reduction
- enhancing the antioxidant’s capacity
- decrease in the likelihood of renal disease
While you must avoid the above food items when you are constipated whereas some food can help in relieving constipation.
Just keep in mind that, even though certain meals may aid in blood sugar control, maintaining a balanced, nutrient-rich diet is still the most crucial aspect of optimal blood sugar management.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Renée Wilson, Jinny Willis, Richard Gearry, et al. Inadequate Vitamin C Status in Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Associations with Glycaemic Control, Obesity, and Smoking Nutrients. 2017 Sep; 9(9): 997.Published online 2017 Sep 9. doi: 10.3390/nu9090997
- Sumio Kondo, Asahi Suzuki, Mihoko Kurokawa, et al. Intake of kale suppresses postprandial increases in plasma glucose: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study Biomed Rep. 2016 Nov; 5(5): 553–558.Published online 2016 Sep 29. doi: 10.3892/br.2016.767
- Karin Ried Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota: A review and meta-analysis Exp Ther Med. 2020 Feb; 19(2): 1472–1478.Published online 2019 Dec 27. doi: 10.3892/etm.2019.8374
- Juan Wang, Xiuming Zhang, Haili Lan, et al. Effect of garlic supplement in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM): a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials Food Nutr Res. 2017; 61(1): 1377571.Published online 2017 Sep 27. doi: 10.1080/16546628.2017.1377571
- Stefano Marventano, Claudia Vetrani, Marilena Vitale, et al. Whole Grain Intake and Glycaemic Control in Healthy Subjects: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Nutrients. 2017 Jul; 9(7): 769.Published online 2017 Jul 19. doi: 10.3390/nu9070769
- S Kirkham, R Akilen, S Sharma, et al. The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance Diabetes Obes Metab. 2009 Dec;11(12):1100-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01094.x. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19930003/
- Donna M. Winham, Andrea M. Hutchins, and Sharon V. Thompson Glycemic Response to Black Beans and Chickpeas as Part of a Rice Meal: A Randomized Cross-Over Trial Nutrients. 2017 Oct; 9(10): 1095.Published online 2017 Oct 4. doi: 10.3390/nu9101095
- Lukas Schwingshackl and Georg Hoffmann Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Synopsis of the Evidence Available from Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Nutrients. 2012 Dec; 4(12): 1989–2007.Published online 2012 Dec 11. doi: 10.3390/nu4121989
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Alisha Matthew has been a practicing nutritionist since 2016. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from the University of IOWA. She is a staunch believer in improving the human health index by educating people about nutrition and the importance of nutrition in leading a healthy and happy life. Her long-term goal is to keep educating people on general health and keep herself updated with the latest trends in the field of health.